Risks to psychological health at work may arise from organizational (i.e. work) or personal factors (i.e. outside of work), with the most common factors being the poor design of work and jobs, poor communication and interpersonal relationships, bullying, occupational violence, and fatigue. Other factors include role ambiguity, lack of job security, and low wages.
Psychological hazards can also arise due to one's personal history, such as mental illness in family members, previous experiences with psychological trauma, or substance abuse. Some people are also born with a genetic predisposition to certain disorders, such as depression or anxiety. The combination of these factors creates a high risk of suffering psychological damage at work.
Organizational factors are those aspects of the working environment that influence an individual's psychological well-being at work. These factors can be divided into two categories: job demands and job resources.
Job demands are characteristics of the workplace that require cognitive or emotional effort and are therefore associated with stress. Examples of job demands include working under time pressure, doing many tasks simultaneously, and having little control over how you do your work.
Job resources are features of the workplace that may reduce an individual's stress and encourage productivity. Examples of job resources include decision authority, training opportunities, and support from colleagues and supervisors.
Workers are likely to be exposed to a mix of occupational psychosocial hazards and risk factors. These include stress, weariness, bullying, violence, hostility, harassment, and burnout, all of which may be hazardous to employees' health and wellness. Other hazards include lack of job security, low pay, limited opportunity for promotion, and having no say in one's work schedule. In addition, there are behavioral risks such as drinking and driving, drug use, sexual activity, and gambling that affect workers' health.
Psychosocial hazards can have immediate effects on the body, such as when stress hormones are released into the blood stream causing irritation to the heart muscle or raising blood pressure. Or they can have delayed effects, such as depression or anxiety caused by a long-term exposure to a single incident at work. Stress at work has been linked to increased rates of illness including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory problems, and cancer. It has also been shown to be a factor in workplace accidents, especially suicides.
Occupational psychosocial hazards can be divided into three categories: physical, chemical, and social. Physical hazards include things like heavy loads, high positions, and dangerous tools or processes. Chemical exposures occur with certain chemicals present in workplaces across the country. Social hazards involve situations where one person's action affects another person negatively (such as bullying or harassment).
Work-related stress is eight of the psychological risks that can have a significant influence on a worker's health and safety. Workplace bullying Workplace violence is a problem.
Bad job design, organization, and management, as well as a poor social environment of work, all contribute to psychosocial hazards, which can lead to undesirable psychological, physical, and social effects such as work-related stress, burnout, or depression. Inadequate communication; a lack of support from management or coworkers. Mismanagement of performance issues; for example, through harassment or unfair punishment.
The workplace is also a source of stress for people who do not work there. For example, a family man or woman may feel guilty about not being able to meet his or her work responsibilities and this can lead to work-family conflict. Or, if a person does not have enough time at work or at home with his or her family, he or she may feel overstressed.
Workplace stress has been linked to many health problems including heart disease, stroke, anxiety, and insomnia. Stress also affects how well a person performs his or her job; when under stress, people make more mistakes at work and suffer from less intense feelings of excitement about their work. Finally, stress can lead to illness by causing people to ignore safety precautions or abandon their jobs out of frustration.
People who are exposed to high levels of stress are likely to experience some form of reaction. This may include worrying too much about something one experiences regularly at work (for example, an annoying coworker), or it may be difficult to sleep at night due to career worries.
Psychological risks are features of the workplace and how it is organized that are linked to mental problems and/or physical harm or sickness. The three main types of psychological hazards are stress, discrimination and bullying. Other types include harassment (verbal or physical), violence, abuse, neglect and self-employment without social security contributions.
Stress can be defined as a harmful emotional response that occurs when someone feels threatened by something such as work conditions. This threat can be physical, such as exposure to dangerous equipment and chemicals at work; interpersonal, such as being yelled at or not given enough responsibility to cope with life events like marriage or divorce; or even just feeling overwhelmed by all the demands made on you by your employer or supervisor. Stress can lead to minor health problems such as headaches and back pain, but if it continues for a long time it can also cause more serious issues such as heart disease and depression.
Discrimination occurs when a person is treated differently because of their race, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation or disability. This type of hazard can be present in any job setting but is especially common in industries where there is a need for authority figures such as police officers, firefighters and teachers.
Interpersonal interactions at work, work overload, work stress, inadequate job control, bullying, violence, and poor organizational justice are all examples of work-related psychosocial hazards. These hazards can lead to illnesses by causing physical or mental trauma from the event itself or due to the lack of protection from such incidents at work.
Psychosocial hazards are elements in job design or management that raise the likelihood of work-related stress and can result in psychological or bodily injury. Poor supervisor support or excessive job expectations are two examples of psychological risks. Physical hazards such as heavy lifting, driving fast vehicles, and working at heights are physical risks. Other common psychosocial hazards include:
Unsafe practices such as using chemicals without knowing their effects or being exposed to hazardous materials (for example, employees may be exposed to toxic substances at their place of employment). Employees may also be exposed to hazards due to lack of safety equipment, such as when there are no protective devices used for tasks like welding where vision is crucial or no hearing protection is provided. Employees may also be exposed to hazards due to substandard working conditions, such as temperatures at which workers must operate machinery or buses with no heat or air conditioning. Finally, employees may be exposed to hazards due to lack of enforcement of safety policies and procedures; for example, if employers do not take disciplinary action against known hazard offenders then they pose a risk to others.
These are only some of the many ways in which employees can be exposed to hazards. If you have any questions about how employees are exposed to hazards at work, please feel free to contact us at anytime.